The NFL Combine is over, and NFL Free Agency doesn’t start for another couple of weeks. We sit, serenely, in this downtime of takes (Mike Florio, as always, excluded). Fortunately for you, we here at Football Absurdity do not believe in downtime. As we patiently wait for NFL Free Agency to begin, it’s time to start taking a look toward 2020 fantasy football sleepers! Let’s follow up our quarterback sleepers piece by talking some fantasy football sleepers at running back for 2020. This one is always tough given that a lot of this comes down to rookie landing spots and camp battles, but there are definitely some discrepancies here we can exploit. The running back rank for the pre-agency sleepers is their expert consensus rank on FantasyPros.com.
Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (RB31)
Trust me, nobody is more confused about RoJo2’s placement on this list. He finished 2019 as the #25 running back in half-PPR leagues, and he did it with Peyton Barber siphoning enough carries to drive everyone crazy. He did this almost purely on his own merits, as he did not benefit from any of the cheapie falling-forward goal-line TDs from guys who claw out of obscurity through scores. Jones had zero goal-line carries last season and hardly caught any passes. Should he consolidate the Peyton Barber touches, he’s a shoo-in top-twenty RB next year. So, of course, the Bucs are going to go trade for David Johnson or draft D’Andre Swift and blow this whole thing out of the water.
Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens (RB52)
The Baltimore Ravens rushed the football a league-leading 596 times last season, 98 times more than the second-place San Francisco 49ers. They also rushed at a hyper-efficient 5.5 yards per clip. That having been said, a good amount of that has to do with Lamar Jackson. The lead man in that backfield is Mark Ingram, who is over the dreaded age thirty cliff. We all want to talk about Justice Hill and all the potential he brings, but Gus Edwards already showed that he could carry the load for the Ravens, and could be the next man up in case of a Mark Ingram injury. The Gus Bus has seven career starts, and in these games, he has 128 touches (18.3 per game) for 97.7 yards per game.
Justin Jackson, L.A. Chargers (RB53)
Melvin Gordon is a free agent. Austin Ekeler returned but his four year-$24.5 million dollar contract is more backup money that solidified #1 starter money. That clears up a lot of running back touches for the 2020 season. Jackson had only three games without Melvin Gordon around to ply his wares last season, and he did well with his limited opportunities. In three games, he turned just 18 rush attempts into 142 yards. While he can’t keep up a 7.89 yards per carry clip under a full load, if the Chargers set him loose in a one-two punch with Austin Ekeler, he could deal a lot of pain to defenses. Both guys weigh a less-than-ideal sub-200 pounds, so splitting the load will be a key to maintaining their 2020 health.
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